United States District Court, N.D. Ohio, Eastern Division
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff.
$23, 000.00 in U.S. CURRENCY. Defendant.
C. NUGENT UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter is before the Court upon the Plaintiffs. United States
of America's, ("United States"), Motion to
Strike Claim and Answer for failing to Respond to Special
Interrogatories. (ECF #21). Claimant, Robert Coore
("Claimant Coore"), timely filed a Response. (ECF
#23). Also before this Court is a Motion for Summary Judgment
on the Issue of Standing filed by Plaintiff, the United
States (ECF #25). Claimant Coore filed a Response to the
Motion for Summary Judgment, (ECF #27), and the United States
filed a Reply Brief (ECF #28). Therefore, this matter is
fully briefed and ripe for review.
FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
case originates as a civil in rem forfeiture
complaint filed by the United States on August 26, 2016,
against $23, 000.00 in U.S. Currency. (ECF #1). On February
24, 2016. Claimant Coore was at the Cleveland Hopkins
International Airport as a ticketed passenger who paid cash
for a one-way flight to Orange County, California. The Drug
Enforcement Agency Cleveland Transportation Interdiction
Group ("DEA"), received information that Taiwan
Wiggins and Dalante Allison, both having previous felony drug
convictions, had also paid cash for one-way tickets on the
same flight. DEA agents spoke to Claimant Coore, who
provided false information about his identity, his employer
and his reason for traveling. (See ECF #21, pp. 2-3). The DEA
agents searched Claimant Coore and his belongings, and found
$23, 000.00 in cash, which they seized. (Id.).
Claimant Coore has since been deported. (See ECF #23. p. 2).
August 26. 2016. the United States filed a Complaint in
Forfeiture pursuant to 21 U.S.C. § 881(a)(6). alleging
that the seized currency was subject to forfeiture
"because it constitutes proceeds traceable to drug
trafficking activities, and/or [was] used or intended to be
used to facilitate drug trafficking in violation of 21 U.S.C.
§ 841(a) and/or 846." (ECF #1. PageID 2).
September 27. 2016. Claimant Coore filed a Verified Claim
asserting to be "the person who is the sole owner of
these monies." (ECF #8. PageID 32). In October 2017, the
United States challenged Claimant Coore's standing to
pursue his claim by propounding upon him Special
Interrogatories. Having received no response to the Special
Interrogatories as of February 20TS, the United States filed
its Motion to Strike. (ECF #21). The United States argued in
its Motion to Strike that Claimant Coore's claim and
answer should be stricken pursuant to Rule G(6) of the
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure's Supplemental Rules for
Admiralty or Maritime Claims and Civil Forfeiture Actions
(the "Supplemental Rules"), which provides that
"at any time before trial, the Government may move to
strike a claim or answer for failing to comply with . ..
[this Rule]. (ECF #21, pp. 5-8).
March 16. 2018. Claimant Coore responded to each Special
Interrogatory with the following statement: "I wish to
assert my Fifth Amendment Privilege not to answer.** (ECF
April 9. 2018. the United States filed its Motion for Summary
Judgment on the Issue of Standing, arguing that Claimant
Coore has not met his burden of proving standing to present
his claims as the sole owner of the seized monies. (ECF #25).
Claimant Coore replied by stating that he does have standing,
and that the United States has to prove it conducted a
consensual search in order to prevail. (ECF #28) 
reasons set forth herein, the United States" Motion to
Strike (ECF #21) is DENIED as MOOT and the United
States" Motion for Summary Judgment (ECF #25) is
SUMMARY JUDGMENT STANDARD
judgment is appropriate when no genuine issues of material
fact exist and the moving party is entitled to judgment as a
matter of law. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett. 477 U.S.
317. 322-23 (l986)(citing Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)). The burden of
showing the absence of any genuine issue of material fact
rests with the moving party:
[A] party seeking summary judgment always bears the initial
responsibility of informing the district court of the basis
for its motion, and identifying those portions of "the
pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and
admissions on file, together with affidavits." if any.
which it believes demonstrates the absence of a genuine issue
of material fact.
Id. at 323.
fact is "material only if its resolution will affect the
outcome of the lawsuit." Anderson v. Liberty
Lobby, 477 U.S. 242. 248 (1986). Accordingly, the
nonmoving part}' must present "significant probative
evidence" to demonstrate that 'there is [more than]
some metaphysical doubt as to the material facts/"
Moore v. Philip Morris Cos., Inc.,8 F.3d 335. 340
(6th Cir. 1993). The nonmoving party may not
simply rely on its pleading, but must "produce evidence
that results in a conflict of ...